What is Sin?


Psalm 19:12 Who can understand his errors?

Sin by Another Name

We are coming up to the beginning of God’s Holy Days. This the time of the year that we look more closely at sin.

Sin is a concept that we are familiar with today, even secularly in terms of criminal or vehicular laws.

We use terms like breach, infraction, violation, crime, error, fault, infraction, misdemeanor, felony. In religion it is primarily called sin, though we see other terms like iniquity, transgression, disobedience and unrighteousness.

What is the Law?

Necessary to understand God’s law and rules for regulating our life and building character [they are better than many of the laws of man].

Romans 7:12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. [high standards; reflect the nature and character of God]

The lesson of the 2 trees; do we want to live by God’s way or is it our will that we want to exert;

The Will of God

Matthew 6:10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

Matthew 12:50 For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

Matthew 26:42 Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.”

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

This is the other side of the coin – if you do not sin, try to change and become more like God then this is who God is looking for.

God knows best and has given us a user’s manual – just because we do not understand it does not mean it’s wrong.

Psalm 119:1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, Who walk in the law of the LORD!

David: Psalm 119: law, testimonies, His ways, precepts, statutes, all Your commandments, righteous judgments, word, ordinances, and knowledge.

Psalms 119:172 … For all Your commandments are righteousness.

Psalms 119:176 … I do not forget Your commandments.


Defining Sin

Generally speaking it is broad in its scope

• Falling short: hamartia, hamartema, hamartano.

“miss the mark.”

• Trespass: paraptoma. This word occurs 23 times, coming from para, meaning “aside,” and pipto, meaning “to fall.” It refers to a false step, blunder, sideslip, lapse or deviation-the failure to maintain godly conduct by the resistance to temptation.

• Iniquity, lawlessness: anomia. This word occurs 15 times and literally means “no law.” It is usually translated “iniquity” in the King James Version and “lawlessness” in the New King James

• Transgression: parabasis. This word comes from para, meaning “across,” and basis, meaning “foot.” It holds the meaning of violating a specific law, crossing a specific line God has drawn. Unless a line exists to cross over, no transgression can be committed (Romans 4:15).

Easier now to understand: Romans 4:15 because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.

But more importantly we understand the concept and for the most part have no problem with it. We are a nation of laws for our own good; deterrents from breaking them; it is why we do not speed, steal, kill perjure; do not do the crime if you don’t want to do the time – the same is true in religion.

Consequence of Sinning

This is why is understanding sin important!

Romans 6:22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

How the Bible Defines Sin

1 John 3:4

1 John 3:4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,


Against all standards of the Word of God [deliberate, unintentional, ignorantly, knowingly]

Most of us are familiar with 10 Commandments and “Do not”


Romans 14:23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.

From the context we are told that if we violate our conscience we are sinning. If you do something that you feel you shouldn’t be doing, you are sinning.

Why is this sin? Because mentally and spiritually we are compromising when we do something that we don’t think is right. When we compromise, we are destroying character.

Thought – The starting point for all sin

James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
James 1:14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
James 1:15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
James 1:16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.

Proverbs 24:9 The devising of foolishness is sin, And the scoffer is an abomination to men.

KJV Proverbs 24:9 The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
1 John 2:17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Ephesians 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
Ephesians 2:2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
Ephesians 2:3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Matthew 5:27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY.’
Matthew 5:28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, But his heart is not with you.

Matthew 15:17 Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated?
Matthew 15:18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.
Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.
Matthew 15:20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”


In Deed

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

a. The phrase “easily beset” comes from a Greek word which means, “that which easily encircles or entangles, like a loose flowing robe.”
b. The runners in ancient times would lay aside even their under garments so as not to be impeded
c. Thus, the Hebrew writer is pleading for Christians to lay aside every hindrance in living the Christian life, especially those sins which, like inner garments, cling so close to us

In Word

James – Bridle the Tongue

James 3:2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.
James 3:3 Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body.
James 3:4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.
James 3:5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!
James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.
James 3:7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind.
James 3:8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
James 3:9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.
James 3:10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
James 3:11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?
James 3:12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.

Matthew 5:21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’
Matthew 5:22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.

James 4:17

Sin of omission – meaning to fail, or neglect to do something required. A sin of omission is failing to do something good when you know you should.

James defines this type of sin in:

James 4:17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

James 2:15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,
James 2:16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?
James 2:17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
James 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!
James 2:20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?


The Good Samaritan

This parable is a classic example of the sin of omission – both the priest and the Levite passed by the injured man without helping him, leaving him half-dead.

Luke 10:30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
Luke 10:31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
Luke 10:32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.
Luke 10:33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.
Luke 10:34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
Luke 10:35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’
Luke 10:36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
Luke 10:37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”


Revelation 3:14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:
Revelation 3:15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.
Revelation 3:16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.
Revelation 3:17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—
Revelation 3:18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
Revelation 3:21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
Revelation 3:22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ‘ “


They are called out for their lackadaisical attitude.

Parable of Pounds

The one that hid his:

Luke 19:11 Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately.
Luke 19:12 Therefore He said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.
Luke 19:13 So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’
Luke 19:14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’
Luke 19:15 “And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
Luke 19:16 Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’
Luke 19:17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’
Luke 19:18 And the second came, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned five minas.’
Luke 19:19 Likewise he said to him, ‘You also be over five cities.’
Luke 19:20 “Then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief.
Luke 19:21 For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’
Luke 19:22 And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow.
Luke 19:23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’
Luke 19:24 “And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.’
Luke 19:25 (But they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas.’)
Luke 19:26 ‘For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.

Luke 19:27 But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’ “

James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
James 1:23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;
James 1:24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.
James 1:25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.

Hebrews 2:2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward,

Hebrews 2:3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,

Not doing something can be as bad as committing a sin ….

Going on to Perfection

Matthew 5:48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

A correct translation of this verse reveals three significant implications:

  1. Unlike God, we are not already perfect.
  2. We are to become perfect. Perfection is a process.
  3. God–His character, His way of life–is the standard of perfection we are to work towards

To summarize, Matthew 5:48 reminds us of our mission and purpose. It acknowledges that God has not commanded us to be instantly perfect, but to work on it to become perfect. It reminds us that God instructs us to use Him as our personal standard. And it also reminds us of our ultimate destiny–to become a God Being in His very Family.

Hebrews 6:1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection….

1 John 2:5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.
1 John 2:6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.